Welcoming tangents

When I sit down to write about a particular topic, it isn’t uncommon for me to end up writing about several other topics, as well. For instance, I might sit down to write about the day I got caught in a white-out in the Rocky Mountains, only to find myself writing about how, the day before, I received an e-mail from an old friend, followed by a passage on how the nosy clerk at the post office was driving me nuts.

I used to consider those unplanned topics as unnecessary tangents, as side roads to nowhere, but no longer.

I now realize that some of my most interesting and meaningful writing arrives unplanned.

Do you ever find yourself wondering off topic while writing? If you do, how do you respond? Do you ignore the tangents? Save them? Do you find them useful or not?

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